1 Chronicles 25:8
And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.
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(8) And they cast lots, ward against ward.—Rather, And they cast lots of charge, that is, for determining the order in which each of the twenty-four guilds, or classes, should take charge of the services. (Comp, the LXX., κλήρους ἐφημερίων, “lots of courses;” and see Luke 1:6.) Some Hebrew MSS. and the Targum repeat the word “ward” (mishmèreth, “charge”), whence the reading of the Authorised Version. The ancient versions omit the word altogether.

As well the small as the great.—Heb., exactly as the small (or, the younger), so the great (or, the elder). (Comp. the Vulg., “ex aequo tam major quam minor.”) But perhaps leummath is here used absolutely: “They cast lots in like manner” (1Chronicles 24:31). The senior houses, or guilds, had no advantage over the juniors, the order of rotation being decided by lot. (Comp. 1Chronicles 24:31.)

The teacher as the scholar.—Literally, cunning (1Chronicles 25:7) with learner. According to 1Chronicles 23:5, the whole number of Levites appointed for the service of song was 4,000. These were all included in the twenty-four classes, 288 of them being “cunning” men, that is, masters in their art, and the remaining 3,712 forming the rank and file of the choirs under the training of the proficients. The Aramaic word talmid (scholar) occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament. It is the term used of the disciples of the Rabbis in the Talmud, and is the exact equivalent of the New Testament word, μαθητής.

1 Chronicles 25:8. Ward against ward — A course of Levites answerable to one of the priests, upon whom the Levites were to wait in their holy ministrations, 1 Chronicles 23:28. As well the teacher as the scholar — Without any respect to their different ages or abilities.

25:1-31 The singers and musicians. - David put those in order who were appointed to be singers and musicians in the temple. To prophesy, in this place, means praising God with great earnestness and devout affections, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. In raising these affections, poetry and music were employed. If the Spirit of God do not put life and fervour into our devotions, they will, however ordered, be a lifeless, worthless form.As well the small as the great - Compare 1 Chronicles 24:31. The lot was not applied indiscriminately to all the 24 courses, but was only used to settle which course of Asaph, which of Jeduthun, and which of Heman, should on each occasion be taken. Asaph was given the precedence over his brethren, and his four courses were assigned the first, and then each alternate place. Jeduthun took rank next, and received alternate places, first with Asaph, and then with Heman, until his courses were exhausted. After this, all the later places fell necessarily to Heman, whose courses continue without interruption from the 15th. 1Ch 25:8-31. Their Division by Lot into Four and Twenty Orders.

8. they cast lots, ward against ward—"Ward" is an old English word for "division" or "company." The lot was cast to determine the precedence of the classes or divisions over which the musical leaders presided; and, in order to secure an impartial arrangement of their order, the master and his assistants, the teacher and his scholars, in each class or company took part in this solemn casting of lots. In the first catalogue given in this chapter the courses are classed according to their employment as musicians. In the second, they are arranged in the order of their service.

Ward against ward, i.e. a ward, or rank, or course of Levites answerable to one of the priests, upon whom the Levites were to wait in their holy ministrations, 1 Chronicles 23:28. As well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar, without any respect to their different ages or abilities.

And they cast lots, ward against ward,.... That is, which ward or course of the singers should answer to and attend on the first ward or course of the priests in their weekly service, and which the second, and so on:

as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar; no regard was had to the age of a person, his being the firstborn or a younger brother, or to his office and station, whether as a teacher or a learner in the science of singing; he was made the head of a course, as the lot came up; and it may easily be observed, by comparing the lots in the following verses with the sons of the chief singers, according to the order of them in 1 Chronicles 25:2 that the younger are often preferred in the courses by lot to the elder, of which even the first lot is an instance.

And they cast lots, {d} ward against ward, as well the {e} small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.

(d) Who should be in every company and course.

(e) Without respect to age or cunning.

8–31. The Allotment of the Courses

8. ward against ward] R.V. (guessing the sense rightly) for their charges (i.e. duties), all alike. The Hebrew text however is faulty.

the teacher as the scholar] LXX. τελείων καὶ μανθανόντων (i.e. the initiated and the learners). For “the teacher” we should perhaps render “the skilful” as in 1 Chronicles 25:7, R.V.; the Heb. word is the same. It is to be noted that we have here twenty-four courses of singers corresponding with the twenty-four courses of the priests.

Verse 8. - This verse should be translated, And they cast lots of attendance, small and great equally, teacher with scholar. The Septuagint translates גורָלות מִשִׁמֶרֶת by the words κλήρους ἐφημεριῶν. 1 Chronicles 25:8They cast lots, משׁמרת גּורלות, κλήρους ἐφημερίων (lxx), by which the משׁמרת, the waiting upon the service, was fixed, that is, the order of their succession in the official service. לעמּת is variously translated. As no name follows, R. Shel. and Kimchi would repeat the preceding משׁמרת: one class as the other; and this is supported by 1 Chronicles 26:16 and Nehemiah 12:24, and by the fact that in 1 Chronicles 17:5, after ממּשׁכּן, the words משׁכּן אל have been dropped out. But according to the accentuation משׁמרת belongs to גּורלות, and so the proposed completion is at once disposed of. Besides this, however, the thought "class like class" does not appear quite suitable, as the classes were only formed by the lots, and so were not in existence so as to be able to cast lots. We therefore, with Ewald, 360, a, and Berth., hold the clause כּגּדול כּקּטן to be the genitive belonging to לעמּת, since עמּת is in Ecclesiastes 5:15 also connected with a clause: "in the manner of, as the small, so the great," i.e., the small and the great, the older as the younger. This is further defined by "the skilled as the scholars." From these words it is manifest that not merely the 288 cast lots, for these were כּל־מבין (1 Chronicles 25:7), but also the other 3712 Levites appointed for the service of the singers; whence it further follows that only the 288 who were divided by lot into twenty-four classes, each numbering twelve persons, were thoroughly skilled in singing and playing, and the scholars were so distributed to them that each class received an equal number of them, whom they had to educate and train. These, then, were probably trained up for and employed in the temple music according to their progress in their education, so that the ἐφημερία which had at any time charge of the service consisted not only of the twelve skilled musicians, but also of a number of scholars who assisted in singing and playing under their direction.
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